Announcing the 2021 NCLEJ Catalyst Awards


The National Center for Law and Economic Justice announces the NCLEJ Catalyst Awards: A Celebration of Changemakers on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at 7 PM ET. The 60-minute livestream fundraiser will feature a dynamic celebration of thought-leaders, including our incredible partners advancing community-centered solutions to public safety in Buffalo. Our star-studded evening will showcase that there is joy in justice-making.  

Our goal is to raise awareness and support for NCLEJ and our activist attorneys creating systems change in collaboration with impacted communities.   

Our Social Justice Catalyst honorees include Black Love Resists in the Rust (Phylicia Brown, ED) and Fair Fines and Fees Coordinator Jalonda Hill for their advocacy to end racial profiling and excessive fines and fees in Buffalo’s Black and Brown communities. Our Corporate Catalyst honoree is Cynthia Bookhart Adams, Managing Director, Legal & Compliance at Jefferies, for her commitment to social justice and outspokenness after the murder of George Floyd.  

The event will include a panel discussion exploring the roots of wealth extraction in communities of color and the role of public interest attorneys, working alongside grassroots organizations, as catalysts in advancing public safety and reimagining our streets and neighborhoods outside of law enforcement. The panel will feature Dennis Parker (NCLEJ Executive Director), Deborah Archer (NCLEJ Board Member, Professor, President of the ACLU, and co-director of the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law at NYU Law School), Maya Wiley (NBC News & MSNBC Legal Analyst and former candidate for NYC Mayor), and honorees Jalonda Hill and Phylicia Brown. 

And we’ll travel to Buffalo, NY, and meet the grassroots leaders who are challenging unjust practices and forging new pathways for imagining public safety that allow communities to thrive, not merely survive. We’ll experience powerful performances by Buffalo Poet Laureate Jillian Hanesworth and Buffalo musician Drea d’Nur and dancer Naila Ansari. 

We’ll also highlight our impact in other core areas of NCLEJ’s mission (Disability Rights, Workers Rights, Access to Public Benefits, and so much more!) and hear from the leadership of the NCLEJ board.   

Sharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent, will emcee the program. 

Thank you to our generous sponsors and donors including Jefferies, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Cravath, Dentons, Gibson Dunn, Mastercard, Selendy & Gay, among others. We invite you to join us as a participating sponsor and guest, as we do the work to advance racial and economic justice from the courtrooms to the streets.